Why Do Law School Rankings Matter
Law school rankings are notorious for being difficult to navigate and bringing a sense of prestige to some law schools. Some students may even apply exclusively to schools based on their national ranking. A strong ability to communicate and network with people is one of the most important skills for a law student. No matter what school you attend, you should be able to make the most of it and use these skills to find your way to a rewarding career. Law school rankings are given by U.S. News and World Report, a news and reporting firm that specializes in comparing and ranking everything from law schools to traditional universities and corporations. Bottom line: Rankings are extremely important – a place in a top 14 school is essential But take a look at business school rankings over time, and you`ll find that they`re very volatile – much more so than medical and law school rankings. How important is ranking really? Does it really make a difference in employment whether you attend a Level 1 or 3 school? Attending the law school in the area where you want to practice gives you the opportunity to engage with the local legal community for three years – through clinics, articling and other law school programs – that you simply wouldn`t have if you hadn`t attended the local law school. If a large number of lawyers in a law firm are graduates of the same regional law school, you can expect them to prefer graduates from the same institution, even if it is not a top-notch school in the eyes of a particular publication. It`s just human nature. Plus, attending a regional school can show that you`re attached to the location, which is especially important in cities that are typically very isolated, like Boston.
Since most employees generate less revenue in the first year than it costs, companies aren`t inclined to hire and invest someone they think will leave in a year, so it`s worth showing that you`re here to stay. I jumped on board after five years and ended up at Cardozo`s admissions office, where I advised prospective students on whether or not they should study law and why they might be particularly suited to Cardozo. Later, I returned to real estate law at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. As a lawyer, first in private practice and later for New York City, I regularly interviewed candidates for summer and lateral partner positions. While I can`t speak for every law firm or government agency, I think I have an idea of the importance of attending T14 law school – so there you have it! It`s just not true that you`ll have a much harder time finding a first job if you attend a lower-level school than a higher-ranking school. You need to ignore the question of ranking consideration a bit and think about where you actually want to practice. Do you want to return to your home city/home country or another part of the country? You`d literally go crazy if you wanted to go home to California to practice, but you went to law school on the East Coast (unless it was Harvard or Yale). The vast majority of employers will care more about your law school grades than the school you attended. After your first job, they take care of your work experience, but for that first job, they don`t have much more to do than your notes. Applying to law school is a very personal experience, and so it`s hard to give a solid answer as to whether T14 schools or law school rankings in general are important or not. For some students, they may be very important, but for others, prestige is overrated and they are not interested in looking at rankings when applying to law schools. Attending a T14 law school may not be the right choice if the alternative is to get a substantial scholarship to attend a strong regional school.
Studying law is an expensive undertaking. Not only do you pay tuition (you spend between $150,000 and $200,000, depending on the school you attend), but you also pay in terms of time and potential loss of income for 3 years. A transaction with no debt or less debt gives you more flexibility after closing, which is important in any market, but mostly bad. This can give you the freedom to accept a non-important legal job right after law school, and it could allow you to pursue other career paths and interests such as an internship, public interest work, government employment, or a position in a small or medium-sized business.